Letting go… Probably the toughest lesson for any parent to learn. It’s certainly been a roller coaster ride for me.
It all starts with the cutting of the umbilical cord. Although by the time my nine months was up, I was more than ready to get her out of my tummy. Being pregnant was magical and wonderful. I never got sick, in fact probably felt the best I ever did during my pregnancy. But once eight months comes around and then nine…the body can only take so much. Yes, the first of all the “letting go” came then although most of us probably didn’t realize it.
I’ve spent the last sixteen years of my life taking care of my daughter. Making sure she had what she needed, helping her work out problems, wiping away her tears when she got hurt… and I loved every moment of being her mother. Through it all there were levels of letting go. When she started walking and got it in her head that walking equated freedom. I had to loosen the reins to allow her room to explore her little world. Then school came along and her little world became a bit bigger. It was rough watching a little five year old walk into a huge school looking so vulnerable. Then came time for her to move on to middle school. Ok, I had to let those reins out quite a bit more. She was becoming more independent and had ideas that she was ready to make her own decisions. We struggled at times, but my decision would always stand.
High school. Those reins were literally yanked out of my hands. She’s now an almost adult with her own ideas, opinions and desires. Old enough to start driving and hold down a job. The teachers in high school treat them like adults and expect them to handle their own issues with much, much less parent interference, I felt like she had gotten on a speeding train and I was running along beside the train trying to keep up. Watching her get farther and farther away.
In my eyes, she’ll always be my baby. When I see her getting knocked down, I want to go and pick her up, but she snarls at me and tells me to leave her alone. When someone says something to hurt her feelings, my maternal instinct kicks in and I feel the need to jump in and speak to the other person. God forbid I ever do something like that. She’s never forgive me for interfering. She sulks to her room most days and wants nothing to do with me. She has her own ideas of how she will do her chores and they don’t necessarily align with mine. I want them done a certain way and she tells me that “logically” it’s better her way. We clash on almost everything. My opinion no longer means anything to her. When I see her struggling with something and try to offer feedback on how it could be better – I’m hassling her, making her life miserable…
She’s growing up. Finding her own way in this world and I have to step aside and watch her make mistakes. Offering guidance and suggestions has become a strategic business. I have to find the right moments and the right words to dish up my advice otherwise they get rejected soundly.
Letting go at this point was no longer a choice or option for me to arrive at. It was forced on me whether I liked it or not. Perhaps there’s a reason why Teenagers become such vile, snarling creatures – it’s to speed up the separation process. Otherwise, you’d have parents like me who are still in their protective, parenting mode way past the time of letting go.
Everyone says it’s a phase so I guess once the “letting go” process is complete, we can both go back to being normal human beings again.